The staff of the constituency office of Sébastien Lemire, MP for Abitibi-Témiscamingue, accompanied several citizens who wanted to obtain a passport.
The Bloc Québécois MP for the riding of Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire, wants passports to be printed in the region.< /p>
A few weeks after the height of the passport crisis, at the start of the summer, the Bloc MP returned to the situation and how it all affected the citizens of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
< p class="e-p">It was pretty dreadful times. When the bottleneck began to occur, I brought passports to Gatineau, because for me, it is inconceivable that we are not able to have them printed in the regions. I understand the postal system works, but when it started to get tough, the requirement was, “Come in person.” There are no other solutions, especially at the last minute, to be able to go there, he says.
Bloquiste MNA for Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire
While many Canadians have gone directly to the offices of Service Canada to be delivered the precious document in person, Sébastien Lemire regrets that this is not an option for Témiscabitibiens, unless you have to drive many hours.
Obviously, for us, it's a six to eight hour drive, depending on where we are in the region, so consequently it's two to three days of work that people are forced to suspend, during working hours necessarily because the offices weren't open on weekends, he says.
“We were really in the context of a system that failed completely and the solutions were not adapted to a region like ours. I find that extremely annoying. »
— Sébastien Lemire
Sébastien Lemire explains that the role of the constituency office mainly consisted of supporting citizens.
Of course people who were nervous and who planned ahead It was more difficult to be able to help them, but we were able to have close support and make sure to make a difference in certain situations to ensure that travel could indeed be possible, he underlines.
The constituency office of federal deputy Sébastien Lemire is located on rue Gamble Ouest, in Rouyn-Noranda .
Despite the efforts made, trips had to be canceled due to delays in the production of passports.
There are people who had to give up, it created a lot of frustration, but we are talking about ten more problematic cases in three months than during the last eight years, he nuances.
< p class="e-p">Mr. Lemire recognizes that security checks must be carried out before a passport is issued, but he maintains that this should not prevent the last stage of the production process from being carried out in Abitibi-Témiscamingue.
I don't understand why we don't have that service. What would it be like to have a printer, here in Abitibi-Témiscamingue for passports, which would perhaps allow us to respond [to demand]? There are regions that have it, I think we are there. The analysis of files, the role is obviously the whole aspect of security, but that can be done remotely. The principle remains that we must be able to have access to services in the regions, and on this, Service Canada has failed, he claims.
Sébastien Lemire maintains that Service Canada has failed in its management of the passport crisis (Archives).
Sébastien Lemire also refuses to attribute the full weight of Service Canada's difficulties to the labor shortage. He believes that the regions should be granted more autonomy with regard to services to the population.
Decentralization is part of the solution for local services. We are an aging population, people need to be enlightened, to be accompanied in many cases. Yes, that would help, but there is no reason why when you call a line, you have to wait four, five or six hours, if you are lucky, to be able to speak to someone. The labor shortage has its back too broad in this situation. There is a clear lack of organization and leadership on the part of the federal government on these issues.